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Placer SPCA: There's a right time to get a pet

Rabbits, chicks and ducklings stick around long after Easter
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This Easter, instead of giving a live animal, the Placer Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals suggest considering giving a stuffed animal—they’re cuddly, cute and require no care. Chocolate animals are another tasty option.

“Children can have short attention spans, and ‘Easter animals’ may live 10 years or longer,” said Leilani Fratis, CEO of the Placer SPCA. “When children are no longer interested in their new animal ‘toy,’ it is the animal that pays the price.”

The problem with the contemporary practice of buying rabbits, chicks and ducklings as pets is that many of them end up unwanted and neglected. Some are dumped in the fields with the idea they can “revert to being wild,” which they cannot, according to the Placer SPCA. These domesticated species cannot fend for themselves and will die if released into the wild. Many end up being surrendered to shelters.

“Rabbit ownership is great for those who know what they are getting into,” Fratis said, “but bunnies aren’t toys.”

If you are seriously considering a pet rabbit for your family, don’t buy on impulse and keep in mind the following:

· Rabbits are not low-maintenance. Their cages or pens need to be cleaned daily, and they need fresh hay, vegetables and water on a daily basis. They also need to be monitored for health issues.

· Rabbits can easily suffer serious injury if handled roughly or dropped by a small child.

· Rabbits need social contact and do not do well when penned outside by themselves.

· Many rabbits do not like to be picked up or carried, and can scratch or bite.

· Rabbits are active animals with powerful legs for jumping. They need enough space to move freely, and a small cage purchased as a carrier is not large enough for a permanent home.

“When your family is ready to make a lifelong commitment to a pet, go to the local animal shelter, where the staff can help you find an animal suited to your household,” Fratis said.

For more information, contact the Placer SPCA at (916) 782-7722 or (530) 885-7387, or email customercare@placerspca.org.